By Steven Alexander
It’s a summer afternoon in Denver.
Spencer gets out of a SUV. He’s a young kid with a feline face and blond mop. He’s wearing a Hollister t-shirt and cargo shorts.
He knocks on an apartment’s door. Nathan answers. Nathan is eighteen and has a husky build, crew cut, and dreamy eyes. He’s very nervous.
Nathan invites him in. Spencer enters and freezes. The apartment is empty. “We’re in the process of moving,” Nathan says. “My mom and I,” he adds quickly.
“Cool,” Spencer says. He studies Nathan. “You’re cute.”
Nathan is jittery and keeps looking away. “Thanks,” he finally mutters.
“You still want to do this?”
Nathan leads Spencer to the bedroom. Spencer abruptly kneels, undoes Nathan’s shorts, and pulls them down some. He begins to suck his dick. Nathan can’t get hard. Spencer stops. “You okay?” Spencer asks.
Nathan grabs Spencer’s arms, as someone puts Spencer in a chokehold.
A needle plunges into Spencer’s deltoid.
* * *
It’s evening in Washington DC.
Doctor Rachel Montgomery is at a formal restaurant. She looks gorgeous in a designer gown.
She’s sitting with a group of tuxedoed men. A young man is talking to her.
Her phone rings. She looks at the caller ID. “My son,” she says. “Excuse me.” She walks to the lobby. “Spencer?”
“Jeremiah 1:5,” a voice says. Rachel freezes. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you.”
“Who is this?” The voice doesn’t answer. “How did you get this phone?”
“I found it in your son’s pocket.”
She’s trying not to panic. “Where is he?”
“I’m going to call you in an hour. Answer your phone, or your son dies. Don’t do anything stupid. We’re watching.”
The man hangs up. She’s trembling. A hand touches her back. She spins around. The young man is standing there. “You okay?” he asks.
She rushes away.
* * *
Spencer is lying unconscious on a concrete floor. His limbs are bound, and a letterman’s jacket is covering him.
Nathan is sitting next to him. He gently touches Spencer’s face.
Someone starts to come down the stairs. Nathan springs up.
Connor freezes when he sees Nathan. Connor is twenty and has a swimmer’s build, steely eyes, and black hair. “Why is your jacket on him?” Connor sneers.
“I thought he’d get cold.”
“Get it off him.” Nathan tries to respond, but ends up stuttering. “Do it!” Nathan takes it off, and Connor yanks it away. “You fucking idiot.”
Connor storms off.
* * *
Rachel is in a hotel room. Her suitcase is packed. She’s pacing.
The phone rings, and she answers it.
“Listen carefully, Doctor,” the voice begins. “We want a million dollars delivered to us tomorrow at 0900. We’ll call you at midnight with the drop off location.”
“My plane leaves in the morning.”
“There’s a flight at 2200. You’ll be on it.”
The man hangs up.
* * *
Spencer awakens, looks around. Nathan and Connor are nearby.
Spencer stirs in discomfort. “Where am I?” he asks. No one answers. “Why am I here?”
“To teach your baby killing mom a lesson,” Connor answers.
“Are you going to hurt me?”
“That depends on her.”
“We’re not going to hurt you,” Nathan says.
Spencer looks at him, and Nathan looks down, puts on his headset, and turns up his music.
* * *
Rachel is speeding in a rental.
The driver in front of her hits their brakes, and she rear-ends them.
* * *
Nathan is walking through the abandoned resort. He comes upon Connor, who is holding a cell phone and looking dazed. “What’s wrong?” Nathan asks.
“We’re doing it,” Connor says.
Connor pulls out a gun.
* * *
Connor and Nathan walk to the cellar door. It’s open. “What the fuck?” Connor grumbles. They jolt down the stairs. Spencer is gone. “Fuck! Where is he?” Nathan can only stare in disbelief. “You better find him, Nathan. I swear to God.”
* * *
Nathan creeps into the kitchen. He hears something.
He walks to a cabinet and opens it. Spencer looks up. “Don’t hurt me,” Spencer begs.
“I can get you anything you want. My parents are doctors. They have money.”
A light emerges. “He’s coming.”
Nathan closes the cabinet.
Connor enters and glares at Nathan. “What are you doing?” Connor asks.
“I thought I heard something, but it was just mice.”
Connor’s phone rings. He answers and listens for a few seconds. “Okay,” he says and hangs up. He looks at Nathan. “I’ll be back in the morning. Find him.”
Connor rushes out.
* * *
Bill Ford is Rachel’s childhood sweetheart and good friend. He’s at his lakeside home. He’s a heavyset man with a round beard, receding hairline, and thick glasses.
His face is reddened with shock. “I think we should go to the police,” he says on the phone. He walks into the living room and sees his dog lying still. “I think it’s…”
He notices blood-tinged vomit near the dog. He looks up and sees a reflection in the window. Someone is standing behind him.
* * *
Spencer is handcuffed to a sink. Nathan is sitting nearby, as he listens to music.
Nathan takes off the headset. “What are you listening to?” Spencer asks.
“It’s just some new rock group,” Nathan responds.
A few seconds pass.
“Why are you doing this?”
Nathan stirs uncomfortably. “Connor’s girlfriend killed herself after having an abortion.”
“You’re helping him get revenge?”
“I guess you can say that.”
“He’s that good of a friend?”
“He’s a friend.”
“Is there a ransom for me?”
“He just wants to get back at your mom.” There’s silence. He glances at Spencer. “You have any more questions?”
“No…well, yeah, can I piss?”
“Let me get you something.”
Nathan rises and starts rummaging through items on a table. “Can you let me out of these, just for a second?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t.”
Nathan finds a urinal and freezes. Spencer becomes even more annoyed. “Well, help me then.”
Nathan gets down, hesitates, and pulls down Spencer’s shorts and briefs. He glances at Spencer’s penis. He sets the urinal down and walks away to give Spencer privacy. Spencer manipulates his body and pisses in the urinal. Nathan walks back and pulls up Spencer’s shorts and briefs.
* * *
Connor walks to a closet. He turns on the light and opens the door. Bill is gagged and bound inside. “Rise and shine, Professor,” Connor taunts.
He begins to cut Bill loose.
* * *
Nathan enters the hallway. He’s carrying a bag of donuts and a carton of milk. “I brought some food, something to drink,” Nathan says.
“I just want to go home,” Spencer grumbles.
“We have a few more hours.”
Spencer becomes pissed. “What are we waiting for?”
“Please let me go. I can’t take this shit anymore.”
Spencer fights back tears. Nathan puts the food down and moves to Spencer. “I promise to get you out of here.”
“Please let me go, please!”
Nathan kneels next to Spencer. He tries to touch Spencer, but Spencer jerks away. “I’m sorry.”
* * *
Bill is driving his Mercedes, and Connor is sitting beside him.
Bill’s phone rings, and Bill answers. “This is he,” he says. “We’re heading there now—“
Connor takes the phone. “Doc,” Connor sneers into it. “What do you want?”
“There has been a change of plans.”
“No, there hasn’t.”
“Meet me in an hour, north of the Denver International Airport, East Bromley and 144th Avenue. I’ll bring the rest of your money; you bring my son.”
She hangs up. Connor tries to call her back, but doesn’t get an answer.
* * *
Nathan enters Spencer’s room. He sets down a duffel bag and unlocks Spencer’s cuffs. “I’m leaving you with a map and a compass,” Nathan says, “as well as food and a jacket.”
Spencer rises and takes the bag. He stares at Nathan. “I…,” Spencer says.
“You don’t have to say anything. Just be careful.”
* * *
Bill exits the road and parks near a Range Rover. Rachel is standing in front of the Rover.
Connor stuffs a bank bag under his seat. He handcuffs Bill to the steering wheel. “Don’t do anything stupid, fat ass, or I’ll kill you both,” Connor warns.
Connor gets out and moves a few feet. He glances at the nearby traffic.
Connor and Rachel glare at each other. “Where’s my son?” Rachel asks.
“Dead,” Connor replies.
Connor pulls out a gun. Rachel also pulls out a gun and aims it at him. Connor starts walking towards her. “Stop!” she screams.
“How does it feel, Doc? Now that it’s someone you love?”
He raises his gun. They both shoot.
* * *
Spencer is in a small room. A half eaten pizza and two cans of coke are in front of him. He’s fidgeting with a pepper packet, as a detective sits near him. The detective is looking over his notes.
“You say you saw only Connor there, correct?” the detective asks.
“And you say Connor claimed he knew Ashley Tabor?”
“He said she was his ex-girlfriend. Why?”
“He never knew her.”
* * *
Rachel is at a computer. Her phone rings. The number is unknown. “Yes?” she answers.
“A voice is heard in Ramah,” the voice begins. “It’s the sound of crying and deep sadness. Rachel is weeping, for her child is no more.”
The man hangs up. She darts to Spencer’s room. A bloodied body is on the floor. She screams, descends. The body is that of the young man from the DC restaurant.
She calls 911. “Help us,” she gasps.
Spencer appears in the doorway. He’s drenched in blood and is holding something. “Stay here,” he yells.
He lunges out the front door. A car is parked across the street with someone inside. He rushes towards it and begins shooting it with a silencer. The car speeds away. He continues shooting.
Rachel runs to Spencer and embraces him. After a few seconds, they walk back to the yard.
The neighbors’ lights are coming on.
* * *
Nathan is tied to a chair in an empty room. He has been brutally beaten and is barely alive.
The police sirens emerge.
List of All Short Stories